Walkin' 'Long the Dock in the Bay

Trip Start May 14, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monterey Blog temp

After a restless night dreaming of hunting for that lost wide-angle
lens, I woke up early and turned restless dreaming into restless
searching, as if the lens would have turned up magically over night. 
Predictably, it didn't.

Mom and I decided that we'd had enough of the same breakfast (even if
it is good) that we get here at the Inn, so we ran down the street to
the Friar Tuck where we got their blueberry pancakes.  Not bad, but not
as good as IHOP.  Certainly better than the same breakfast we've been
having (even if that was good)

After food, we stopped by the "sporting goods" store.  I put that in
quotes because it is primarily t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, jackets,
sweaters, etc.  But since that's exactly what we needed...  See, when I
packed for this trip, I'd looked at a forecast that was going to put us
in the upper 60s or mid to low 70s the whole trip.

Instead, there are a couple of days that we're likely to get into the highs of 58....

So, I now am the happy owner of a red and navy blue flannel jacket. :D

Some more brief shopping and gallery browsing, including what has
become our favorite: Simic gallery.  They had some of the best painters
in there...  we could have come home with at least a dozen pictures
from that gallery.

Then we headed out to Monterey.  Originally, the plan was to go to Big
Sur today.  However, by 11, the clouds showed no sign of burning off
and indeed, when I checked the forecast again when we got back it
turned out that today became mostly cloudy.  That's not a good way to
see Big Sur, so after we hit the road to head to Monterey (to visit a
camera shop...) we decided to swap the days around again and just go to
the Aquarium today instead of Big Sur.

Monterey is closer to Carmel than I realized.  It only took us 10
minutes if even that to get to the outskirts, and we were at the camera
store in less than 15 minutes.   Sure enough, he had a decent wide
angle zoom that covered a wider angle than my old one.  And he was
willing to give us a sale price on it.  So, mom got me a new wide angle
lens. (and case and UV filter) as an early Christmas present.  VERY
early, but... Big Sur?  Yeah... WIDE ANGLE NEEDED!

After that, we headed over to the Aquarium. We found it with absolutely
no trouble and got parking right away (even if it was really expensivve
in the parking garage.  Oi...)

Our first stop wasn't actually in the aquarium, it was at an
observation area just outside, where we found the windows for the cafe
(confirming there was one in the aquarium) and a large rock with about
ten seals on it.  Oh they were cute.

After some pictures, we went into the Aquarium.  it was about 1pm by
this point, and the first thing on our minds was FOOD.  So we headed
for the cafe and got a seat at the sit-down restaurant overlooking the
bay, which put us right in view of the rock with the seals.  Our meals
were slow, but they were understaffed today and we were well
entertained by the seals.  And then... OTTERS!!!  And they came close
enough that with the telephoto, we got good views!!  When viewed full
zoom on the computer, they're actually close enough to see the whiskers.

It was a male and female, and it's spring.  That's how we know it was a male and female....  >.>

After a good hour watching the seals and otters and eating, we headed
in to the main aquarium.  First stop was the otters.  Yes, I have otter
on the brain :D  They're cute!  These guys were right up next to the
glass and very active.  One climbed out of the water and into the ice
bucket instead and munched on ice for a bit.

Next stop was the Jellies exhibit.  W.O.W.  we've seen pretty Jellies
before, but the exhibit there was amazing.  And we saw the most
absolutely fantastically amazing jellies we've ever seen... they're
transparent/white, with little tiny feelers that are so close together
they refract the light into a rainbow, like a prism.  So you have
little rainbow lights running up and down the sides of these jellys. 
They're called "comb jellys".  There were so many UFO style jellys, it
was -- pardon the pun -- out of this world.

After that, our favorite exhibit was the seahorses, which is their
current special exhibit.  And the main attraction there for us... the
leafy sea dragon.  We haven't ever seen them before, but basically they
look like very elaborate kelp.  They're -gorgeous- and fascinating. 
Again, out of this world.

Other than that.... well, we really enjoyed pretty much every exhibit
there.  Even the touching pool, where I got to play with the sea
urchins (did you know their spines will turn in toward you to hold onto
you (gently) as they catch your scent to see if you're food?), sea
stars (some were even *soft* and *fuzzy*, though most were like suede),
the squooshie sea cucumber, got to see what a chiton feels like and
looks like when alive (Ian and I found a dead one last year and had no
idea what they were at the time), got to pet several crabs... all in
all, a very enjoyable touching pool.

We caught some of the feeding in the kelp beds, watched a wave wash over us, hunted for TINY shrimp and seahorses...

All in all, a very plesent day.  We very nearly closed down the aquarium.

On our way back to the parking garage, we stopped off to share a
chocolate and strawberry crepe at a shop right next to the garage. We
got there just before he closed, and the guy was very kind about
letting us have one and making sure we took our time.  And the crepe
was absolutely delicious.

From there, we drove out along the coast to go past the lighthouse
(rather wimpy lighthouse, really... we didn't even stop for a picture)
then along more of the coast until the road turned back inland through
the forests toward highway 1.

And... guess what my foot hit as I was settling in for the drive back home...

My missing wide angle lens!  Though mom and I both swear I'd taken it
off my purse in the room, we were both mis-remembering.  Once we found
it, I remembered that I'd tucked it under the seat when we went in to
eat somewhere so it wasn't tempting anyone.  Well, I'd done such a good
job hiding it that even searching for it, I couldn't find it :p  And
I'd looked in the car, too!

Oh well, now I have a new wide angle lens, and it turns out the new one
(which technically falls into the fisheye category) covers 11-18mm, the
fixed focal is 20, then my standard lens is 28-50 or something like
that.  So, we now have the whole wide angle range covered reasonably

Finished up the day coming back to Carmel to eat (Em Le's.... food was
okay, but the staff was very friendly) then back to the room for some
more pictures then packing.

Tomorrow, we do Big Sur, fog or shine, then it's up to the Captain's Inn for two nights.
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